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No salvage planned for Slater fire footprint

What is the U.S. Forest Service doing about removing the dead trees killed by the Slater fire this summer? Salvage logging plan? When?

— Brice, via email

The U.S. Forest Service is currently working on a plan for treatments in the Slater fire burn area, according to Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest spokesperson Virginia Gibbons.

The Slater fire, which started Sept. 8, burned 157,229 acres in southern Josephine County and Northern California.

No fire salvage activities are proposed within the fire footprint, Gibbons said. A team of scientists is evaluating the cutting and removal of roadside danger trees within the high-intensity burn area, Gibbons said. Within the moderate and low intensity burn areas, they are evaluating the falling and leaving of additional roadside trees.

“We do not anticipate creating an excessive fuel load by leaving trees on the ground because the amount of burned trees is significantly less in the lower intensity burn areas,” Gibbons said in an email.

An opportunity for public comment is coming within the next week or two. U.S. Forest Service officials intend to make a decision by the first week of March, “and quickly thereafter, implement the decision,” Gibbons said.

Separately, the sale of 5 million of board feet worth of felled and processed trees taken along the Grayback Road (also called Forest Highway 48) is imminent. Those trees were cut during the fire for firefighter safety and power line infrastructure protection purposes. Starting Tuesday, Jan. 12, prospective bidders will be able to submit sealed bids, due about two weeks out from that date, Gibbons said.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.